Roma and the Social Contract

This is a forum for discussing philosophical theories of government and social structure. It is not a venue for partisan rants or plugging favored candidates.

Re: Roma and the Social Contract

Postby Serpent on September 29th, 2018, 4:30 pm 

Lomax » September 29th, 2018, 6:03 am wrote: In other words: when the United Kingdom (for example) serves an injunction against a Traveller encampment, is it really accurate to say that those Travellers have consented to the state's authority?

Yes, because by entering a nation's borders, you automatically put yourself under that nation's laws. That's true of a tourist, a migrant worker, a vagrant, an itinerant tinker or a traveling theatrical troupe.
The state's authority holds everywhere, except in foreign embassies.
OTH, if an individual or group has leased private or public land for a given period of time - that is, entered into a specific legal contract - the state has no right to override the terms of that contract. But in the case of Travellers, if a settled citizen object, local authorities do just that.
It's an unequal social contract.
If not, does this render Rousseau's argument invalid?

It's philosophically valid, but not universally applicable. States regularly breach it with impunity, while individuals or odd communities rarely can.

Think of the difference between an employee and contractor. Some descrete groups of people have a less comprehensive contract: fewer statutes apply to them, because fewer benefits accrue to them, but they're still under the umbrella of the law. They are not allowed to take other people's property, nor is anyone else allowed to take theirs - but they shouldn't have to pay school tax when they own no land and send no children to school. That was more or less all right for a long time. Problems begin when a marginal group that doesn't have the rights and privileges, wealth and political clout of burghers is forced to abide by burgher mores.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3156
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
Lomax liked this post


Re: Roma and the Social Contract

Postby BadgerJelly on September 30th, 2018, 2:54 am 

Lomax -

I guess, if pushed, I’d have to say society - like Rousseau says - is about wilfully doing something against your immediate interests in order to please others. The “social contract” in this sense is merely an extention of empathy and game theory then?

Biv -

Does an exchange of goods necessarily constitute a society, and/or are we to take any “exchange” as a sign of a “society” - see above with someone giving up certain pleasures so others can live happily as part as an unspoken “trade” of selfishness/selflessness. Then within s societal frame certain groups of people/s with certain attitudes will naturally gravitate toward each other so they can reap the rewards of the most furtile ground for the greatest possible “mutual benefits”.

In this sense “society”, as I am guessing Rousseau thinks of it (I’ve not read his work is matter - apologies for that), extends itself further and further away from the individual’s wants although it aims to please the most people most of the time rather than the least people for the least amount of time. How this is “justified” is another matter entirely. It is almost like saying the sky is justified to exist about the mountains. To take it in a more broader sense I cetainly don’t see any long-term functional society lasting without individuals within it actively opposing and reforming the so called “justification” laid out before it.

What it seems like to me is we’re in a constant flux between personal will and th understanding of other people’s will around us. By such views we act out as best we can in a way that we deem most beneficial to ourselves and least harmful to others - given that we have to live in a society with people (by definition) we certainly don’t wish to make everyone around us opposed to our needs and wants.

The major difficulty in society being the lack of fungible currency in terms of “want” and “need”. Generally people have different attitudes toward money too. Those without money understand its value much more than those without it. I imagine this is due to the underlying lack of fungibility betwee people’s/person’s wants and needs - quite often what we want is that which we actively avoid. We’re peculiar creatures and nearly everyday I wonder why I don’t do what I know I need to do without serious internal debate in the form of distraction and shadow play.

Anyway, blah blah blah. I’ll leave it there for now and see what’s thrown back.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5377
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Roma and the Social Contract

Postby hyksos on September 30th, 2018, 4:49 am 

Lomax » September 28th, 2018, 4:33 am wrote:The yellowskins haven't always had it easy. Something about railroads.

Braininvat » September 27th, 2018, 5:50 pm wrote:The social contract does seem sensitively dependent on agreed upon concepts of law and property. A functioning society depends on such agreements. In the U.S. there was considerable conflict between a society based on rule of law and a society that has the older "honor culture." Also between a Christian monogamous culture and a splinter group that sought refuge in a wilderness area to practice polygamy. And, as noted above, between landed agrarian culture and a nomadic hunter-gatherer culture. Generally, over time, individuals tend to assimilate to the culture that has the power, in order to gain the economic benefits this offers.

This is why I think the example of the Roma holds as a counterargument to the social contract theory. It's not just the temptations of affluent Western society; it's the disadvantages which that society imposes on traveller societies. Here in stuffy England, the most powerful society has farmed the arable land, mined the mountains, fished the rivers, claimed the skies. We tell the travellers where to go and live and if it's ghastly there, tough. Serpent's point about the Roma constituting a society misses the greater point: it will be persecuted by our society, or it will assimilate. That's an odd conception of consent, Mr Rousseau, isn't it?

First of all Rousseau believed that it was socialization and society that corrupts a person's morality. He held to this doctrine so closely that he was forced to reconcile it with education itself. (for would not education indoctrinate a free individual into the vices of society?)

Second -- the Social Contract is not a description of the world in terms of physics. It is an ethical theory that is used to describe various cultures and their civic proclivities. In this context, there will be nations where the Social Contract is strong, and there will be nations where the Social Contract is weak.

The United States is a "society" in which the Social Contract is very pronounced and strong. Individuality and individual rights are adhered to "until it hurts" (so to speak). Finland would be another strong social contract example. In places like Korea and Singapore, the Social Contract is so weak as to be nearly non-existent.

The reasons for these differences are entirely cultural and results from these people's having different histories. Korea and Singapore have tended to construct their societies along utilitarian lines, rather than the border lines between an individual's rights against a collective will, which the locus on which the S-C turns.

The symptoms of these manifest in , for example, Singapore having the most advanced public transportation system in all of Southeast Asia. (public transportation is enforced over cars, because it's "better for the greater collective"). Furthermore, if you spit your chewing gum on the sidewalk at the metro station, it is a crime, and that crime is punishable by corporal punishment (they literally cane you). Those are not laws which cater to a calculation of your "individual rights". You've acted against the collective, and you will be made to suffer.

To western eyes, Japan is not the most moral place in the world. But even the Japanese have continually described the Koreans as being completely amoral. Korean culture has an utter lack of a sense of individuality -- to the point where personal identity is eroded. Western tourists have noted that collectivism effects Korean's business practices, and even possibly the way they speak about themselves.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1499
Joined: 28 Nov 2014
Serpent liked this post


Re: Roma and the Social Contract

Postby Lomax on September 30th, 2018, 10:17 am 

hyksos » September 30th, 2018, 9:49 am wrote:First of all Rousseau believed that it was socialization and society that corrupts a person's morality. He held to this doctrine so closely that he was forced to reconcile it with education itself. (for would not education indoctrinate a free individual into the vices of society?)

Second -- the Social Contract is not a description of the world in terms of physics. It is an ethical theory that is used to describe various cultures and their civic proclivities. In this context, there will be nations where the Social Contract is strong, and there will be nations where the Social Contract is weak.

I wonder who you are arguing with. I made no claims to the contrary.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3664
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Roma and the Social Contract

Postby wolfhnd on September 30th, 2018, 10:47 am 

I realized I was rambling and had nothing to add. I'm not ignoring anyone just losing interest.
wolfhnd
Honored Member
 
Posts: 4743
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Roma and the Social Contract

Postby BadgerJelly on October 2nd, 2018, 11:24 am 

Lomax -

For what it’s worth Levi-Strauss says this regarding society:

“Social anthropology is devoted especially to the study of institutions considered as systems of representations ...”

I misread this a little so if you substitue “representatives” in for “represenatations” then I think we’ve got a reasonably solid definition to build from regarding what “society” is and what it means to be “part of society” ... or not?

Obviously the most commonly known means of implementing societal ideas is through the creation of rules/laws. The aim being to help people flourish together as see fit by the “representatives”; be they ordained democratically or otherwise.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5377
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Previous

Return to Political Theory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests